Ms. Calabaza, a regular commenter whose blog I follow and thoroughly enjoy despite our obvious divergent perspectives, was quick to point out that Adolph Hitler was a world class farter as well as a top-shelf demon. Coming from a Cuban familiar with treachery in government and totalitarianism, that’s high-class, heartfelt condemnation.
I read the NY Times religiously — that means I wear a hat when I open its pages — including the Sunday book reviews, but I tend to set them aside and find myself anywhere from 4 to 10 weeks behind. So only recently did I encounter Patrick McGrath’s write-up of Winnie and Wolf by A.N Wilson, which includes this selection from the novel:
There is a scatological leitmotif in this narrative, morally figurative of the Nazi ambience. Watching Hitler deliver a speech from an upstairs window, Herr N. notes that with every patriotic phrase, “the buttocks let out the quickfire whumps and cracks that accompanied the volleys firing from the mouth, and the room gradually filled with a gaseous sulphur odor.” He comes up with his “flatulence theory”: the idea that Hitler at the moment of orgasm would break wind. No woman could be expected not to laugh, and to Hitler this would be intolerable. But Winnie Wagner, with her hero-worship of the man and her great warmth of heart – with her, it would be different. — NY Times Book Review
Great image, yes? The Fuhrer filling the room with venomous acridity from both ends simultaneously. How universally appropriate. I gave up on Wilson’s novels after about the sixth I read; it was the same story and characters over an over again. Maybe I’ll try this one. Any guy that writes about farts can’t be all bad.
photo credit: Cats That Look Like Hitler. They’re called “Kitlers.”